Be Brave. Be Bold. Be Fearless. Famous Firsts in Women’s History

“Famous Firsts in Women’s History” is Smith Library’s Women’s History Month theme for 2021. There have been numerous trail-blazing women in the United States. These pioneers have made achievements in business, politics, science, education, arts, literature, sports, and numerous other areas.

Here are some of women’s notable firsts.


Katharine Graham is the first woman to become a Fortune 500 CEO, the Washington Post Company, in 1972.




Joan Benoit wins the first women’s Olympic Marathon in 1984.





Activist Alice Paul proposes the Equal Rights Amendment for the first time in 1923.




High Point University also has a notable first within our community.

Marsha Slane was named chair of the High Point University’s Board of Trustees Sept. 7. 2005 and served until 2010.  She was the first woman in university history to hold this post.

The Women’s History Website states:

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.

Stop by Smith Library to read some the following books on display on additional historic firsts of women:

Kamala’s Way: an American Life by Dan Morain. Kamala Harris, the first female, first Black, and first South-Asian vice president in U.S. history.

Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential nominee of a major party in 2016.

Janet Guthrie: a life at full throttle by Janet Guthrie. Janet Guthrie, the first woman to drive in the Indy 500 in 1977.

Edith Wharton: a biography by R.W.B. Lewis. The first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1921.

Deliverance Mary Fields by Miantae Metcalf McConnell. Mary Fields was the first African American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier in the United States.













Additional information can be read at the following websites:

-Blog post by La-Nita Williams, Circulation Services